How Northern Ireland can become the Hong Kong of Europe
There have been many individuals likening Northern Ireland to Hong Kong concerning the logistical and economic stance Northern Ireland now holds. But what does this mean? Well, in this post, I explain what this means and how Northern Ireland can become the Hong Kong of Europe.
Hong Kong v Northern Ireland
Hong Kong serves as a logistical hub for Asia due to several key factors that make it an ideal location for the movement of goods within the region and beyond:
Strategic Geographical Location: Hong Kong is strategically located on the southern coast of China, at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta. This location places it within proximity to major manufacturing centres in Southern China and the Greater Bay Area. It’s also well-positioned as a gateway to Southeast Asia, North Asia, and other global markets. Northern Ireland is strategically placed at the edge of West Europe, with close proximity to the largest GDP markets of Europe, and worth noting, just over the pond is the Americas.
Efficient Transport Infrastructure: Hong Kong has a highly efficient transport infrastructure, including one of the world’s busiest container ports and a top-tier international airport. The Port of Hong Kong is a central transhipment point for goods moving in and out of China, and the Hong Kong International Airport is a crucial hub for air cargo. This is where Northern Ireland needs to rise to the occasion; its ports and transport infrastructure are not world-leading – however, it does share a land border with the Republic of Ireland with free movement of goods, and it has unrestricted access to GB, meaning goods can freely travel to and from mainland EU, GB, ROI and NI through well-established ports across these countries – leaving Northern Ireland able to utilise these well-established trade routes.
Free Trade and Open Markets: Hong Kong is known for its commitment to free trade and open markets. It has very few import and export restrictions, low trade barriers, and a straightforward customs regime. This makes it an attractive location for international trade and logistics. Since Brexit, when Britain left the EU, Northern Ireland remained in the EU single market for goods while remaining part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a land border with the Republic of Ireland and with unrestricted access to GB and the EU – this new landscape primes Northern Ireland to become an open market, likening it to Hong Kong’s unique position.
Excellent Connectivity: Hong Kong has exceptional air and sea connectivity. The Hong Kong International Airport connects to numerous destinations worldwide, making it a key hub for airfreight. The city’s maritime connections also extend to various ports in Asia, Europe, and North America. In Northern Ireland, companies like SJ Henderson Fulfilment are rising to cater for the needs and desires of international businesses, ensuring NI becomes a hub for goods to flow through for the GB and EU with ease.
Business-Friendly Environment: Hong Kong offers a business-friendly environment with well-established legal and regulatory systems based on common law principles. This stability and transparency are attractive to companies engaged in logistics and trade. It takes only minutes to register a business in Northern Ireland, and it has some of the best support mechanisms in the world via agencies like Invest Northern Ireland, Intertrade Ireland, Catalyst, and TechstartNI, to name a few. If any business, small or large, even if only a concept, wishes to base itself in Northern Ireland – these establishments are here to warmly welcome you and support, nurture, and invest in you from day one.
The combination of these factors makes Hong Kong an ideal logistical hub for Asia, attracting businesses involved in manufacturing, trade, and distribution to leverage its infrastructure and strategic advantages for the efficient movement of goods within the region and on a global scale.
This post, I trust, explains where and how Northern Ireland can become the Hong Kong of Europe. Decades of events and political movements have slowly set the scene, placing Northern Ireland centre stage, firmly in place as the “world’s most exciting economic zone” (Quote by Rishi Sunak, United Kingdom’s Prime Minister).